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GE sees risks from war in Ukraine, but retains 2022 earnings forecast

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. conglomerate General Electric is pictured at the site of the company’s energy branch in Belfort, France, February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Reuters) – General Electric (NYSE:GE) Co on Thursday reiterated its 2022 earnings forecast, but said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added to business uncertainty.

The Boston-based industrial conglomerate last month warned that its profits would suffer in the first half of this year due to persistent supply-chain and inflationary pressures.

A run-up in global commodity prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has worsened the situation.

At the company’s first in-person investor meeting in more than two years, Chief Executive Larry Culp said the company’s outlook has not incorporated the potential fallout of the situation in Ukraine as there are “too many uncertainties.”

“Like every company directly or indirectly exposed to what’s happening, there’s more uncertainty today with respect to what lies ahead than we saw just a month ago,” Culp said.

“There are really things we don’t know.”

Culp said GE would be “hyper-focused” on controlling the things it can control.

On Tuesday, the company said it has suspended its operations in the country and is working with authorities to ensure compliance with sanctions.

Culp said Russia accounts for less than 2% of the company’s overall sales. Its power business, however, has a bigger exposure to the country.

Russia’s invasion has also put the supplies of titanium from the country in doubt. The metal is used in the aerospace industry to make landing gear, blades and turbine discs.

GE said its aviation unit uses Russian supplies for just two parts for which it has more than a year of inventory on the shelf. Overall, it sources just 1% of its titanium supplies from Russia.

Mounting concerns about supply-chain and inflation have hurt GE’s shares, which are down 11% since mid-January. Its shares were down 1.2% at $90.12 in mid-day trade.

The company has said it is raising prices and trying to keep a lid on costs. It is also trying to source alternative parts to help to deal with shortages.

GE, which last November said it would split into three public companies, reaffirmed the timeline for the spin-offs.

It plans to spin off its healthcare business into a separate publicly traded company next year. It would combine its power and renewable energy units, and spin off that operation in 2024. Following the split, it will become an aviation company.

GE expects to post high-single-digit revenue growth this year on the back of a more than 20% increase in aviation revenue.

Adjusted profit for the year is projected to be in the range of $2.80 per share to $3.50 per share. It also expects to grow its profit margin by 150 basis points and to generate $5.5 billion to $6.5 billion in free cash flow.

The company expects to generate about $10 billion in adjusted operating profit and more than $7 billion in free cash flow in 2023.

GE sees risks from war in Ukraine, but retains 2022 earnings forecast

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